In response to the slowdown in the global economy occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, the Federal Government yesterday, rolled out guidelines for industrial and manufacturing firms operating in the country, targeted at promoting their survival and contribution to the country’s efforts at tackling the pandemic.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Minister of Industry Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, noted that the guidelines, in addition to helping the government in tackling the pandemic, would also ensure the survival of the businesses, as well as promote and protect the health and safety of their workers, families and communities within which they operate.
Speaking on the guidelines, he said, “In this regard, all measures necessary to protect and promote the health and safety of industrial and related workers, their families, communities and the nation at large are being put in place. Specifically, such measures include but are not limited to the following:
“That the management of all industrial sites should sensitize and educate their workers on compliance with COVID-19 Guidelines of the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC.
“That all industries shall provide requisite facilities and supplies for the prevention of COVID-19 in line with the extant guidelines of the NCDC.
“That all industries are encouraged to do their utmost best to sustain ongoing operations in order to avoid reduction or shutdown of production activities.
“That Manufacturers are encouraged to scale up their production especially of essential commodities such as pharmaceuticals, consumables, sanitary and hygiene products needed to curtail the spread of the virus (COVID 19).
“Government will continue to do everything possible to support industries to sustain their operations and where necessary even stimulate a surge in production of essential commodities especially medicines and sanitary products”.
The minister further cautioned Nigerians against panic buying, stating that the Federal Government was working with other stakeholders to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on the populace.
“It is my sincere prayer that the COVID-19 pandemic will soon come to an end in Nigeria and the world over, and that Nigerians will not suffer any hardship in its wake. We shall overcome,” Adebayo noted.
Also speaking, the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, (MAN), Mr. Mansur Ahmed, said the initiative of the Ministry at this time, was very pertinent, while appropriate measures as directed by the ministry, are being taken.
He said, “The association and all our members are indeed very pleased with the initiative that the ministry is taking to engage the manufacturing sector in particular on this issue, because it is very important that the initiative of the government and the issues that confronted under this environment can only be addressed when government works closely with the key stakeholders.
“We are very delighted to say that in our discussions with the ministry over the past two days, we have looked at all areas in which the government initiative, both fiscal and monetary measures will assist the manufacturing sector not only in sustaining the operations of members but also in boosting the supply of very essential commodities that may help us to minimize the impact of this scourge.
“So indeed, like the minister said, we have identified the number of issues which of course will now be submitted to government for clearance and approval and once that is done, I believe we will put in place measures that will ensure that as much as possible the industrial sector remains as active as possible because that is necessary to keep the impact of this pandemic down.”